From the Editor

by Craig Stark

#8, 15 December 2003

Today's issue is devoted completely (and reverently, to the extent possible) to the common used bookstore.

Using aquarium life (and death) as an analogy for the life cycles of used bookstores may seem far-fetched at first glance, but on closer inspection, it helps us understand why bookstores, like aquaria, have distinctly observable, sometimes radically different life cycles, some evolving, some devolving. The bookseller who is able to evaluate this process will be more adept at choosing productive stores for inventory purchases. If you've ever wondered why some used bookstores start brightly and soon fade to dark and others consistently glow, the answer might be in this first article, "Life Cycles of the Common Used Bookstore."

The golden age of buying inventory in used bookstores for sale online, if there ever was one, is, as of approximately two years ago, history. Opportunities that abounded then have dwindled to a fraction of what they once were. Pockets of opportunity still exist, however, and if you're persistent, who knows. You may go home with some great candidates for resale. In our second article, "How to Buy Inventory in Used Bookstores," we'll discuss where to go and what to look for.

Finally, whether you're a bookseller looking for inventory, a collector, or simply a book lover, David & Susan Siegel's Used Book Lover's Guides may be of considerable use. For a complete review of the online and print versions of these guides see our final article, "Life on the Road: A Review of the Used Book Lover's Guides." We'll also offer some specific advice on how to use these guides for spotting potentially productive sources of inventory.

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Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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